Kurt Luedtke

Kurt Luedtke (born September 28, 1939) is an American screenwriter. He is best known for writing Out of Africa (1985), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as Absence of Malice (1981) (for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay) and Random Hearts (1999). All three films were directed by Sydney Pollack.

After graduating from college at Brown University, Luedtke became a newspaper reporter, first in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and then at the Miami Herald.[1] Luedtke then moved to the Detroit Free Press in 1965, rising to executive editor at age 33.[2][1] At 38, he chose to quit and move to Hollywood to break into the film business, where his only entry was as a screenwriter.[1] His intention was to write a book, but his idea for a book about reporting came to the attention of Orion Pictures, which optioned it before it was written for $20,000 and pitched it to director George Roy Hill, who liked it but was unavailable to help on the screenplay.[1] Luedtke offered to write the screenplay for free providing that he could have his idea back if Orion didn't proceed with the movie.[1] Ultimately, Sydney Pollack was available to direct the movie, which became Absence of Malice, beginning the working relationship between the two men.[1]


  1. Haithman, Diane (22 December 1985). "Dream Wasn't Impossible for Screenwriter Luedtke". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  2. Kamer, Foster. "New York Times Top Brass Trolled by Former Editor Armed with Embarrassing Anecdote". Observer.com. The New York Observer. Retrieved 9 May 2015.

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